HIGHLAND PARK, Mich.—The Ruth Ellis Center this year is celebrating its 15th anniversary serving youth in Detroit and the metropolitan area. Established in 1999, Ruth Ellis Center (REC) has been and continues to be one of the nation’s leading experts in serving runway, homeless and at-risk lesbian, gay, bi-attractional, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.
REC was formed by concerned community members in response to a severe act of violence against a gay youth who was experiencing homelessness. The violence and victimization against LGBTQ youth often leads to and is a result of homelessness. In Detroit, it is currently estimated that there are between 800 to 1,000 LGBTQ runaway and homeless youth living on the streets. The Center served more than fifty percent of those youth last year. [pullquote]REC was formed by concerned community members in response to a severe act of violence against a gay youth who was experiencing homelessness. The violence and victimization against LGBTQ youth often leads to and is a result of homelessness.[/pullquote]
The Center creates forums and infrastructure to support not only a youth-driven space, but also youth-driven initiatives. REC operates four core programs: Ruth’s House, a full-time residential program that is a State of Michigan licensed Child Caring Institution for LGBTQ youth in foster care; Second Stories Drop-In Center, offering resources such as full meals, support groups, leadership opportunities and more; Second Stories Outpatient Mental Health Services, providing individual, family and group counseling to youth and young adults; and the Street Outreach Program, a federally funded program which utilizes peer-to-peer strategies to effectively engage youth in support services. All programs and services follow the Center’s four core principles of work including, harm reduction, trauma-informed care, positive youth development and transformative justice.
At 15 years, REC’s expertise has garnered the attention of the White House, Emmy Award Winning Comedienne Wanda Sykes, the NBA and two time Grammy Award winning band Fun. REC is also working on innovative new methods of street outreach services through mobile an online engagement; these new methods will work to help reduce isolation and increase access to resources for some of the most vulnerable youth in our community.
REC values and relies on the support of its donors and volunteers. Individuals and corporations can ensure that The Center continues to have the ongoing financial resources necessary to make a positive and significant difference in the lives of LGBTQ runaway, homeless, and at-risk youth. Like many non-profits, REC relies on monetary gifts to sustain its life-saving programs. The Center also welcomes in-kind gifts of clothing for youth ages 12 to 24 of all sizes and gender expression. Volunteers also play an integral role in establishing permanent connections in the lives of young people.
Ruth Ellis Center is dedicated to serving runaway, homeless and at-risk youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bi-attractional, transgender or questioning. The Center’s mission is to provide short-term and long-term residential safe space and support services for runaway, homeless and at-risk lesbian, gay, bi-attractional, transgender and questioning youth.
- Ruth’s House – a full-time residential foster care program that is a State of Michigan licensed Child Caring Institution.
- Second Stories Drop-In Center – A facility that offers youth resources such as full meals, gender identity support groups, on-site mental health therapy, laundry facility and clothing, a cyber center, and recreational activities.
- Second Stories Outpatient Mental Health Services, providing individual, family and group counseling to LGBTQ youth and young adults ages 7-30.
- Street Outreach Program – a federally funded peer-driven model that uses harm reduction and community involvement to authentically connect with LGBTQ youth who are experiencing homelessness.
[From a News Release]